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Contrasting Sequel Main Character
aka: Contrasting Sequel Protagonist

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Now with 99% less happy. From left to right: 

Q: You hit me! Picard never hit me!
Benjamin Sisko: I'm not Picard.

Making a sequel is hard. One needs to find the perfect balance of new stuff to contrast with the original. One way to get some difference is to take your old protagonist and make his mirror image, but with contrasting traits. Was the previous hero a Hot-Blooded Action Hero? Make the new one a Action Survivor who relies on brains over brawn. Was he a young Wide-Eyed Idealist? Make the other an older Knight in Sour Armor. Was he a man? Have the new one be a woman.

The new protagonist will sometimes have an Establishing Character Moment just to drive the point home that they’re nothing like the previous one.

The trope can also potentially lead to some interesting moments should the two ever meet. That is unless they already knew each other from the beginning. But even then, they’ll have moments of establishing each other as Foils to one another. Such characters may share some more basic traits, like heroism, allowing someone to note how they aren't so different. Beware, however, as they can easily end up becoming a Replacement Scrappy.

Subtrope of Breaking Old Trends. May overlap with Anti-Hero Substitute.

For contrasting villains go to Contrasting Sequel Antagonist. For contrasting settings, go to Contrasting Sequel Setting.

Contrast Suspiciously Similar Substitute.


Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • During the period in Batman (Grant Morrison) when Batman and Robin briefly replaced the flagship Batman title, Morrison intentionally subverted the classic dynamic between Batman and Robin by putting Dick Grayson in the cape and cowl and making Damian Wayne his Robin. In contrast to the setup that we all grew up with, Dick was a cheerful, outgoing, blue-collar Batman trying to cope with his relative lack of experience, whereas Damian was an angry, brooding, blue-blooded Robin who was raised to be a stone-cold killer.
    • While the previous Robin solo tales were generally told in anthology comics like Star Spangled Comics rather than in their own book, the ongoing Robin (1993) starring Tim Drake was a huge contrast to Dick and Jason's stories, who had both been much more playful and volatile during their tenures as Robin, while Tim was much more serious and deliberate while in costume even if he did enjoy the occasional bit of snark. He also focused more on his life and friends outside of Robin and most importantly had to hide his id from his still-living father, unlike the orphans that preceded him.
  • Blue Beetle: The various Blue Beetles show this. Dan Garrett is far more blue-collar (He started as a police officer, later retconned into an archaeologist) and has magical powers at the end of his run. Ted Kord meanwhile is a billionaire CEO, Badass Normal Gadgeteer Genius. Jaime Reyes is a Hispanic teenager, who gets his powers via an Empathic Weapon super powered outfit.
  • Captain Britain: When one is chosen to become Captain Britain, they are offered two items: the Sword of Might or the Amulet of Right. The original protagonist, Brian Braddock, chose the latter; his successor Kelsey Leigh, being more practically-minded and not understanding the significance of the items, chose the former.
  • The Flash had Wally West (The Flash III) to Barry Allen (The Flash II). Whereas Barry was an awkward nerd and a straight-laced Nice Guy who kept his secret identity, Wally was an everyman in almost all regards, but was a hothead and acted publicly as a superhero. Whereas Barry's stories mostly focused on his bumbling amazement at the events around him, Wally's tended to use the stranger side of the Flash mythos as a vehicle for character development.
  • Green Arrow: Oliver Queen was a loud-mouthed and showy figure who had a sort of pig-headed stubbornness and cocky air about him but was still devoted to doing the right thing and helping the poor. When he died in the Nineties, Ollie was replaced by his son Connor Hawke, who had been raised in an ashram and been studying to become a monk. As a result, Connor was much more humble and reserved than Ollie, and had difficulty coping with the stardom and larger-than-life aspects of being a superhero. One particular contrast was their reaction to the ladies; Ollie was a notorious womanizer whose libido was fairly infamous among superheroes. Connor, on the other hand, was deeply uncomfortable around women due to his upbringing and was visibly uneasy when being hit on.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Done by Peter David for Spider-Man 2099; Miguel O'Hara was created by taking Peter Parker's traits and reversing them.
      "Pretty much every place where Stan (Lee) zigged, I zagged... whereas Peter Parker is a high school student, Miguel is a fully-realized adult working in a laboratory. Whereas Peter was shy and reticent and didn’t know how to talk to girls but talky and outgoing as Spider-Man, Miguel O’Hara was a fully-confident wiseacre with a fiancée…and as Spider-Man, relatively mute."
    • The original Spider-Girl (Peter's teenage daughter "Mayday" in the Marvel Comics 2 universe) is similar. While Peter was a socially awkward loser in high school, she's both brainy but also athletic and popular, taking after both her parents (Peter and Mary Jane). Her origin also includes her saving Peter's life, which co-creator Ron Frenz notes is an Inversion of what happened to Peter's father figure.
      "Pete learned through the death of Uncle Ben that if he doesn't act, people die; Mayday learned in her first couple of issues that when she does act, people live. That subtle, but significant difference put her in a much more positive and proactive headspace, which was pretty much the whole vibe of the MC2 Universe."
    • In Ultimate Marvel and later 616, Miles Morales ultimately became Peter Parker's most important Legacy Character, the first to operate in the main universe as "Spider-Man". He's unique in that his background provides a Setting Update to Peter's archetype. Brian Michael Bendis stated that if you had to imagine a Working-Class Hero underdog scrapper starting out young and teenage in New York in the 21st Century, it's a good chance that character would not be white, and so Miles is part black and part Latino. He gets to a magnet school based on lottery based on gentrification issues and how competitive and hard these schools have become for low-income families (whereas Peter in the classic era went to Midtown High and then to ESU on scholarship). Unlike Peter who is an orphan with Aunt May as his only family, Miles has both his parents (at least after he returned to 616) and an extended family so that makes him a little more well-adjusted and less neurotic. Miles also grows up in an environment and generation where his nerdy passions are encouraged and validated as opposed to Peter who was raised in a classic "jocks versus nerds" era which gives him self-esteem issues even years later.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): The main protagonists of this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction are Vivienne Graham and San. Compared to Godzilla from canon, who was a semi-aquatic Destructive Saviour and ancient primeval endling well-versed in combat, with bio-atomic powers that produced a blue light; the Vivienne-San Two Beings, One Body is a ground-based newborn Artificial Hybrid which is new to their abilities and goes out of their way to avoid harming humans, with bip-electrical powers that form crimson light and lightning. Compared to the human protagonists of the first three MonsterVerse movies; Viv and San's character arc is about forming brand new familial relationships instead of salvaging old ones, they're reasonably sociable with other characters while dealing with their trauma instead of festering in isolation as loners, Vivienne is mourning the recent death of a parent figure instead of the long-ago death of a child or spouse, and San is a self-kicking Manchild who was abused in his backstory instead of being a Mangster or wallowing in Excessive Mourning.
  • Cross Ange: Futatsu Sekai no Border has Sylvia Ikaruga Misurugi, the younger sister of Ange. While Ange threw away her only identity and Took a Level in Jerkass to the point of being a Toxic Friend Influence, Sylvia takes up the Empress name and Took a Level in Kindness to the point of being a Positive Friend Influence. While Ange has a Hair-Trigger Temper, Sylvia is coolheaded. Ange Stopped Caring for most people and everything else, Sylvia empathizes far more than she initially did. While Ange borderlines to being a Nominal Hero with Omnicidal Maniac tendencies, not unlike Embryo, Sylvia diverges away from him and becomes more of A True Hero who seeks to save everything.
    • The same goes with the younger Hilda. The main Hilda was a bully, while the younger Hilda is a Nice Girl who wants to apologize. The older Hilda initially treated Ange inhumanly horribly before becoming friends with her, the younger Hilda made friends with Sylvia right away.
  • In Necessary to Win, Miho Nishizumi is the main character; as you might expect, she's kindhearted, meek, open to reaching out to others, and does not see victory as the be-all and end-all. In the prequel, Paths Toward Victory, her mother, Shiho Nishizumi, takes her place as the main character, and is cold, arrogant, detached from others, and ruthlessly determined.
  • Made apparent in A Different Kind of Truth. Yu Narukami was a stoic yet all around nice guy with the talent of being perfect in everything he tried and the ability to easily make friends. Jonathan Joestar was a kind, idealistic, unselfish, and musclebound man. Johnny contrasts both by being a snarky, fundamentally selfish, cynical, self-centered, and scrawny kid who cannot move anything below the waist while also not intentionally looking forward to making friends or being with other people.
  • Lulu's Bizarre Rebellion has the Fenette family fulfill the Joestar role of Part 3. However, unlike the badass, hammy, and eccentric Joestars before her like her uncle Joseph, Shirley is a scared teenage girl. In particular, she is very different from Jotaro, who'd normally be in her role.
  • Goldstein: Anthony/Yehudah is in many ways the opposite of Harry, as he has a large, pleasant family and would rather be at home than learning to be a wizard at Hogwarts. Their Sortings are a good example of this: Harry is almost put in Slytherin and is noted to have a "thirst to prove himself," while the Hat quickly rejects the idea of putting Yehudah there, commenting that he prefers a quiet life over one of ambition. (To which Yehudah thinks, "Of course, who wouldn't?")
  • In Where Talent Goes on Vacation Akira Azuki is this to Kaori Miura. While Miura was a mild-mannered Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak who only swears once in the entire fic, Azuki is a tomboyish Jerk with a Heart of Gold with a foul mouth. Miura had a "talent" she wasn't particularly proud of, while Azuki has the highly desirable title of the Ultimate Actress. Miura, who discovered that she was a lesbian, looked up to Edogawa, eventually falling in love with her (a feeling Edogawa reciprocated). Azuki, however, is not only heterosexual, but has the highly desirable Ultimate Actress talent, and has two admirers- Nagato, whose feelings for her are platonic, and Kojima, who has an unrequited and unwanted crush on her. While Miura was unwilling to sacrifice the blackened, and gradually came to accept it, Azuki was eager to make the first culprit pay, an attitude she came to regret after seeing the first execution's brutality. In addition, while Miura serves as an Expy of Makoto Naegi, the hero and main character of the Danganronpa series, Azuki serves more of one to Kaede Akamatsu, being a Decoy Protagonist who gets executed as a blackened while providing Character Development for the true protagonist (Shuichi for Kaede, Nagato for Azuki).
  • Communication:
  • In Of Blood and Steel, which serves as a sequel to Girls und Panzer, Riko "Erwin" Matsumoto, the protagonist of the fic, is this compared to Miho in canon. In canon, Miho chose to transfer to Oarai Academy from Kuromorimine, specifically to seek out a school that does not have tankery, wanting to give it up after the backlash she faced (including from her mother) due to sacrificing victory to save the lives of one of her team's tank crews. In the fic, Riko is forced to transfer to Raven's Peak because Oarai's tuition has become too high for her mother to afford, even though Riko does not want to leave. Once at their new schools, Miho is initially reluctant to command her tank, much less the entire team, only accepting after Anzu (Student Council President and until then de facto team leader) encourages her to do so, while Riko is willing to lead the team, and ends up clashing with Jackie over leadership of the team. Miho is kind and understanding of the team, even when they make mistakes at first, whereas Riko emulates her idol, Erwin Rommel, and proposes a zero-tolerance policy toward cowards and deserters, as well as anyone who might drag the team down.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail stars Chloe Cerise, while its Prequel Infinity Train: Knight of the Orange Lily centers around Gladion Montblanc. The two contrast sharply in several ways:
    • Chloe wants absolutely nothing to do with Pokémon, resenting how her father and Goh neglect her in favor of the creatures. Gladion, meanwhile, wants nothing more than to become a powerful trainer. He enters the Train with his team while Chloe boarded alone, without Yamper or anyone else for protection.
    • Chloe leaves Vermillion City in hopes of figuring out what she wants to do with her life, creating an identity outside of being 'the Professor's daughter'. Gladion already has a firm view of himself: he's the noble knight who protected his sister through hard work and self-sacrifice. Except...
    • While Chloe is very close to her younger brother, with Parker serving as her confidant who knew her better than anyone else, Gladion's relationship with Lillie is strained by how he left her behind for years and chose to withhold vital information because he decided she was too weak to handle it.
    • Chloe dresses in white and blue, while Gladion's outfit is black and red.
  • The prequel The Familiar of Zero fanfic Noblesse Oblige has Henry, his familiar Raven and Isabella, the main characters of the fanfic, who heavily contrast to Saito, Derflinger and Louise (respectively) from the canon series.
    • Saito is a normal Japanese teenage boy from Earth who was whisked to Halkeginia due to Louise's summoning magic and is a human familiar specialised with only his rune Gandalfr and his talking sword Derflinger. Henry is a Tristanian born from an influential family who inherits his mother Karin's wind-affinity magic. Saito started off as a low-ranking peasant familiar in the beginning and is the subject of Louise's abuse for most of the time before he was knighted as a royal knight and a noble for Louise. Henry is already a noble-born since birth and is the subject of Louise's affections as his sibling, since he's the one actively responsible for believing in her, thus making her much less of a Jerkass than she is in the canon.
    • Derflinger is the talking sword Saito has on his side, which is empowered by his Gandalfr rune. Raven is Henry's talking giant raven who later becomes his companion over the course of the story. Derflinger is a rusting sword who is Really 700 Years Old. Raven was firstly created by Henry during his Familiar Summoning Ritual, thus making him at least several days old.
    • Louise was born from the famed La Vallière family, who suffers from inferiority complex because of her lack of practical magic, due to her nature as a Void mage. Isabella, on the other hand, is a member of Gallian's royal family and instead of having inferiority complex, she is much more disillusioned of her father's immature, yet childish nature and has some knowledge of practical magic. Louise is physically abusive towards Saito, where she is incredibly prone to violence. Isabella is emotionally abusive, at some points, towards Henry, who is revealed to be a Yandere who once threatened some servants and a noble once for attempting to flirt with him.
  • In The Legend of Ban, a sequel fanfic to the popular Avatar: The Last Airbender series, introduces us to Ban Beifong, continuing the trend started in The Legend of Korra. Whereas Korra was brash, somewhat arrogant, and learned three of the four elements when she was four (in addition to learning she was the Avatar) Ban is laid-back, relaxed, calm and composed. He takes no offense to being bullied, and doesn't even realize he's an earthbender until his Avatar State awakens at age sixteen. Invoked by Word of God as a deliberate means to make a very Anti-Korra and Anti-Aang sort of Avatar, with an emphasis on Neutral Jing.
  • In Miraculous: The Phoenix Rises, we get an example. In the original, Marinette was a well-liked, outgoing, optimistic, yet awkward lead fitting of the show. Morgan is certainly not this, being a despised, reserved and cynical Anti-Hero.
  • The Simpsons: Team L.A.S.H.: All of the members of Team L.A.S.H. are stark contrasts from the previous protagonists, the four main members of the Simpson family.

    Films — Animation 

  • Much like Finding Nemo and Finding Dory above, Cars and Cars 2 does this with the first movie companion returning as the main character for the sequel. In Cars, the main character is Lightning McQueen, a Hot-Blooded racer who tries to get over his selfishness by spending time in a remote town called Radiator Springs. In Cars 2, the main character is McQueen's friend Mater, a ditzy tow truck who is far more sensitive then Lightning and gets involved in a spy mission. Amusingly, all four films were made by the same people.
  • Done in Finding Nemo and its sequel, Finding Dory, where the protagonist's companion from the first movie returns as the new protagonist. The first film has Marlin, an uptight, anxiety-ridden widower and single father looking for his missing son. The second film has Dory, a carefree, scatterbrained amnesiac woman looking for her missing parents.
  • Lady from Lady and the Tramp and her son Scamp in Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure. While Lady loved her life as a pet, Scamp feels restrained by it.
    • Scamp's love interest, Angel can also qualify as this to Tramp. While Tramp was initially skeptical of being part of a family and tried to convince Lady to have the same mindset, Angel desperately wants to be part of a family and urges Scamp to realize that being part of a family is the best.
  • Emmet, Batman and Lloyd from The LEGO Movie, The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie. Emmet, the main character of the first movie, is an optimistic and sociable Nice Guy who is so generic that even his so-called friends cannot remember anything about him and his arc focuses on him learning that sometimes you have to break the rules and stop following the crowd. Batman, the main character of the second movie, starts out as a cynical and brooding Jerkass, who, being a superhero, is treated like a well-loved celebrity and his arc focuses on him learning to work with others. Lloyd, the main character of the third movie, is the teenage son of an Evil Overlord who doesn't support his father yet is still treated as an outcast for their relation, while he moonlights as one of the city's beloved ninja heroes combating his father, and ultimately learns more of his father than the villain he presents himself as.
  • Simba in The Lion King was a rambunctious cub who was excited by the prospect of becoming king and sang about how he couldn't wait to ascend to the throne, had a relatively restriction free childhood that became more troubled later on, and his childhood friend/future lover was always on his side. In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, his daughter Kiara is a humble cub who had reservations about becoming future Queen (one of the reasons why she doesn't want to be queen as she thinks it would be no fun), had a controlled childhood that was nonetheless not severely traumatic, and her childhood friend/future lover was initially against her but went under a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Ariel from The Little Mermaid (1989) and her daughter Melody in the sequel. Ariel was a mermaid teenager who was obsessed with the land and wanted to become human, grew up knowing her entire heritage, raised by one parent with six other sisters, and had a healthy amount of confidence. Melody is a human preteen (specifically, Half-Human Hybrid but was born effectively human) drawn to the ocean and wants to be a mermaid, remained ignorant of her true lineage for most of her life, and is an only child raised by both parents but also gained self-esteem issues. They're not strikingly different in temperament, but their goals are complete opposites.
  • Both Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University follow the duo of Mike Wazowski and James "Sulley" Sullivan, but each film puts more focus on one over the other. In Inc the focus was on Sulley, a professional scarer who realizes that frightening children was wrong while Mike was the sidekick who just wanted to get their lives back on track. In University it's flipped with Mike as the main character, a college student who dreamed being a scarer and had the brains despite lacking anything remotely scary while Sulley was The Rival who obsessed over outdoing Mike before becoming friends.
  • The first PAW Patrol movie centers around Chase facing his Dark and Troubled Past; the second film does the same for Skye. While Chase's inner demons left him paralyzed with fear and unable to act when he was needed, Skye's inner demons made her reckless and desperate to prove herself by taking actions that put herself and others in danger. Both let their fears control them but responded in opposite ways, which they then had to work through.
  • Wendy and Jane from Peter Pan and its sequel Return To Neverland respectively. Wendy's character arc was about learning that no matter how much she might want to stay a child, she needs to grow up eventually. Her daughter, Jane, on the other hand, grew up too fast due to World War II and needed to be reminded that she is still a child. Wendy traveled to Neverland with her brothers willingly when they first met Peter while Jane was forcibly taken when she was kidnapped out of her room by Hook and his crew without her brother. Wendy was told to grow up by her stern father while Wendy chastised Jane for thinking she's grown up when she isn't. Both of them are fans of Peter Pan and get to personally befriend him but he started off on friendly terms with Wendy who still believed in him while his meeting with Jane was frosty given how she stopped thinking he was real. Wendy was something of a Damsel in Distress who never once betrayed Peter but Jane is more of an Action Girl who initially plans to sell out Peter to Hook but changes her mind.
  • The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under have a variation: while Miss Bianca and Bernard are the main characters of both films, the children they rescue contrast with each other. In the first film, the kidnapped child is Penny, a sweet Heartwarming Orphan girl from New York City whose main desire is to be adopted. In the second film, the kidnapped child is Cody, an adventurous boy from the Australian outback, who has a mother (though no father), and whose main goal is to protect the golden eagle Marahute and her eggs.
  • Shrek: Compared to Shrek, Puss is different from the ogre in every way.
    • Whereas Shrek is an overweight, relatively ugly ogre, Puss is a cute and slim tabby cat.
    • By personality, both the ogre and cat are smart-mouthed and well-meaning, but Shrek has a short temper while Puss is more calm.
    • From their backgrounds, Shrek's childhood was rough as he was raised by a somewhat monster of a father who once tried to eat him. Later growing up, he was shunned by the world for how he was judged by his appearance and he lived with it ever since. Puss, on the other hand, was a kitten found on the doorstep of the San Ricardo orphanage and happily raised by his adopted mother Imelda. As a teenager, he was branded a hero after saving the Comadante's mother from an escaped bull up until he was roped in for robbing the town's bank and had to run from the law, along with carrying that burden with him since then.
    • In combat, Shrek relies on his strength. Meanwhile, Puss has advantage in his agility and rapier sword.
    • On ethnicity, Shrek speaks in a Scottish accent, while Puss has a Spanish accent.

    Music 

    Podcasts 
  • The Adventure Zone: Amnesty plays this straight with Duck, a Comically Serious straight man who just wants to be normal and fights through survival knowledge and brute strength, about as different from the Camp TV celebrity wizard Taako as it's possible to be. Justin even notes explicitly in one episode that he deliberately made Duck a Bad Liar to contrast Taako, whose main solution to problems (other than running away) was to lie his way out of it. However, Ned still has a lot of similarities with Merle (while he's notably less scatterbrained, they still both have a fondness for barely plausible bullshitting), and Aubrey's differences to Magnus mainly run skin deep, both being impulsive, big-hearted friendly folk who love animals. Naturally, some of this is due to actor bleed — Travis has ADD, which naturally affects how he plays his characters, and Clint is always going to be at least a little forgetful. Justin however deliberately tries to make characters unlike himself - in one The The Adventure Zone Zone, he says this is a lifelong habit, and guesses that it comes from his difficulty finding fictional characters who are fat like he is.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Subverted with Ring of Honor and its sister promotion Full Impact Pro. The wild and party happy Homicide was a very different champion than the stern technicians that were Low Ki, Xavier and Samoa Joe, more concerned with maiming people than proving anything or earning respect, but Homicide lost the FIP title to Bryan Danielson, who was closer to the mold of the previous ROH title holders and then Danielson lost the ROH belt to Homicide. In the Tag Team divisions, the split lasted a little longer with ROH's teams being comparatively less comical and more focused on technique and respect(or lack there of in the case of Special K) but they were brought in line with the fifth team to become champions both in ROH and FIP, The Briscoes.
  • SHIMMER's first five singles champions were all unrelenting nigh invulnerable wrestlers who bent and pulverized their opponents in very direct manners and required similarly dreaded wrestlers or particularly skewed odds to defeat. By contrast, the first five singles champions of sister promotion SHINE were all unlikely ones that relied on shameless cheating or subtle ingenuity to stay undefeated. There was not as clear of a contrast between the tag team champions though.
  • Compare the first ROH Top Prospect Mike Bennett, a CM Punk wannabe in the ring who was famously dedicated to his significant other with 2013 ROH Top Prospect Matt Taven, a wannabe pretty boy, Casanova Wannabe and Dirty Coward with the 2014 Top Prospect Hanson, a somewhat stocky, hotheaded, No-Nonsense Nemesis. Taven relied on trickery and connections on his path to success, Hanson took runner-up Raymon Rowe with him and pummeled his way to the top of the tag team division, rolling over Taven in the process. The 2015 ROH Top Prospect Donovan Dijak, a towering man who wrestles like a scaled up super junior with the 2016 Top Prospect Lio Rush, a man too small to technically qualify as a junior heavyweight yet strives to wrestle like one anyway. Dijak would turn down his promised television spot for a failed run in the tag team division while Rush would be denied his and instead go straight after the world champion after which Prince Nana's manipulations would lead to him and Dijak switching places.
  • WWE does this in regards to their top guys every era:
    • Bob Backlund was a small guy who emphasized technical wrestling, as opposed to the strongman stylings of Bruno Sammartino.
    • Hulk Hogan returned to the powerhouse-oriented wrestling of Sammartino, but Hogan would be portrayed as a cartoonish superhero rather than the more realistic presentation of Sammartino and Backlund.
    • Bret Hart was a technical wrestler who was often portrayed as an underdog, unlike the seemingly invincible Hogan. His matches were generally considered more attractive to wrestling purists than Hogan's were.
    • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was a trash-talking rule-breaking brawler who was hardly meant to be a role model for children, but instead an avatar of the angst of the Attitude Era.
    • John Cena marked a return to the tradition of clean-cut top faces. He roughly played a similar role to Hogan, but showed signs of vulnerability and weakness much more frequently.
    • CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were stars who made their names on the indie circut and fought their way to the top, ofthen against the McMahons' wishes, in contrast to Cena who's always been the "golden boy" of the company.
    • Roman Reigns is a return to stars who directly got Vince McMahon's stamp of approval. He has usually been booed similarly to Cena, but while Cena was noble and rule-abiding, Reigns was more of a snarky jerk.
    • Becky Lynch was a heel who was widely popular with fans and almost always cheered, forcing WWE to turn her face, unlike Reigns who as a babyface was very unpopular and heavily booed.
    • Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes were two midcarders who got mismanaged during their first WWE run and found redemption when they were released, competing in the independent circuit and other main companies before making a stellar return to WWE as the top Faces. Both McIntyre and Rhodes serve as the contrast to Reigns and Lynch, who are now the top Heels.

    Theatre 
  • In many ways, Albus Potter is the inverse of his father in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Harry grows up unaware of the wizarding world, is sorted into Gryffindor, and becomes a popular and talented wizard with great skill on a broom. Albus, by contrast, grows up in the wizarding world with two famous parents, gets sorted into Slytherin, and ends up a bullied Inept Mage who's rubbish on a broom.
  • Though by no means sequels, it's easy to draw comparisons between In the Heights's Usnavi and Hamilton's Alexander Hamilton. Usnavi is a tongue-tied, awkward shopkeep with no big ambitions in life besides returning to his home island in the Caribbean. Compare that to Hamilton, charming ladies' soldier-cum-Secretary-of-Treasury who wants to make a name of himself with no desire to visit his Caribbean birthplace. Of course, there are similarities: both were played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, both have Motor Mouth tendencies, and both are concerned with legacy and who will tell their story (which naturally are important themes in both shows).

    Toys 
  • Toa Tahu, leader of the heroes in BIONICLE's first saga, was a fiery, impulsive hothead, always wanting to prove himself and compete with his fellow Toa. Toa Vakama from the second saga (actually a prequel) was insecure, perpetually angsty, but more controlled and calculating, although still ruled by his emotions. Toa Jaller from the third saga deliberately invoked this trope, having learned from Tahu's and Vakama's mistakes, so he was more level-headed and confident in his approach, but willing to listen to others. Also, Tahu and Vakama both struggled to keep their team together and act as a leader, whereas Jaller was already a respected Captain and friends with his team members prior to becoming a Toa.

    Visual Novels 
  • Not a sequel, but a prequel: The protagonist of Fate/stay night, Shirou Emiya, is a Wide-Eyed Idealist who is dragged into the 5th Holy Grail War. In Fate/Zero, his adoptive father Kitsurugi Emiya is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who willingly enters the 4th Holy Grail War.
  • The protagonist of Akai Ito, Hatou Kei, is a timid, unassertive girl who constantly needs to be protected by her girlfriend(s). Her cooking is also honest-to-the-gods awful. Cue the sort-of sequel Aoi Shiro, where the protagonist, Osanai Syouko, is a clear-headed captain of an all-girl kendo team with a very good sense of culinaire— good enough to exceed the girl that she must constantly protect.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc: Protagonist Makoto Naegi is idealistic, non-confrontational, and a little naive, and in awe of his fellow classmates' talents that helped them get into Hope's Peak Academy since his own talent is rather mundane in comparison (Super High School-Level Good Luck, due to being picked from a lottery to be able to attend the school).
    • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Hajime Hinata is more cynical, outspoken, and sarcastic, and despite being unable to remember what his talent (Said talent also contrasts Makoto’s as he doesn’t naturally have one to begin with but was given every single talent surgically) is he treats his classmates more or less as equals, while at the same time being more wary of them.
    • Komaru Naegi, Makoto Naegi's little sister and protagonist of the series' Gaiden Game Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, sets herself apart from her brother and Hinata by being very emotionally fragile, requiring constant moral support to keep her from giving up (which she very nearly does a few times).
    • The tradition continues in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, with Kaede Akamatsu, the main series' first female protagonist. Kaede openly seeks the role of leadership in her group, something her predecessors never did. She also seems to be more of a Genki Girl, in contrast to Makoto and Hajime who often play Only Sane Man to their classmate's antics. She also serves as an internal contrast to Shuichi Saihara, the game's second main character, who in many ways is a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Makoto and Hajime.
  • The Science Adventure series tends to have fairly distinct protagonists. Chaos;Head has Classical Anti-Hero Takumi Nishijou who is pretty much a cowardly otaku who takes awhile to gain motivation. Steins;Gate's Okabe retains some loser traits due to his Chuunibyou antics but is portrayed as much more confident in his ambitions, at least until the plot rears its head.
  • The first two main characters in the Ace Attorney games, Phoenix Wright and Apollo Justice, are young men who are hilarious in their attempts to be serious, are able to bluff their way through nervous moments pretty well, and who have pretty unremarkable backstories (until Apollo's backstory was elaborated upon in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice). Athena Cykes is a young woman who is more of an obvious Cloudcuckoolander Butt-Monkey who occasionally locks up in terror and who has a very Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Yashiki, the protagonist of Spirit Hunter: Death Mark, is a gaunt, middle-aged man with amnesia and a proclivity towards the supernatural. Akira, the protagonist of the sequel Spirit Hunter: NG, is instead a high-school brawler who's practically-minded and unfamiliar with the supernatural. This is shown most clearly with their respective spiritual files; Yashiki's notes are detailed and written like journal entries, whilst Akira's are crude, laconic scrawls.
  • Genba No Kizuna, a prequel to Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair has its main character, Keiichi Genba, contrast with the latter's protagonist Raiko Shinpuku. Raiko was a middle schooler who finds herself in a murder mystery by chance(and helped save a wrongly accused shoplifter in the past), while Genba is an adult and a police officer whose job it is to solve crimes. Raiko was The Stoic and one of the more mature members of the cast, albeit with some Not So Above It All moments, while Genba is more emotional, often comedically so, and is sometimes irresponsible. Raiko was, at minimum, acquainted with her fellow guests at the Halloween party she attends, whereas all of the witnesses and most of the other police officers are strangers to Genba.
  • In the beginning, the protagonists of Key/Visual Arts visual novels didn't vary much - Yuuichi, Yukito and Tomoya were each reserved, snarky cool guys who eventually warm up to their sweet love interests. Tomoya takes the archetype further, being more openly brooding and an outright Gadfly at times. Then they released Little Busters!, whose protagonist Riki is shy and ill and starts off with a group of friends he's extremely close to, and whose arc is less about opening up and more about gaining strength and independence (though he remains a First Person Snarker). Then they made Rewrite, which escalates Kotarou's Gadfly-ness to far above Tomoya's levels, and who unlike any who came before is an extremely outgoing and energetic character who can be a bit of a Butt-Monkey.
  • Heaven Will Be Mine is the Non-Linear Sequel to We Know the Devil, and its trio of main characters all can be considered contrasting characters to its predecessor's main trio:
    • The cocky, flirty Saturn contrasts Jupiter from We Know The Devil.Jupiter was a Broken Ace who was almost effortlessly good at things, but she was also riddled with insecurities and self doubt, and tried to be the good girl even though she didn't really believe she was one. Saturn, by contrast, is a reject who knows she's awful at things, but keeps trying to win by cheating, and openly embraces being bad. In the Golden Ending of We Know the Devil, Jupiter is the most reluctant of the three to embrace the Devil, only doing it when the others assure her that it's permanent and there's no way back. By contrast, Saturn is the one advocating for eversion, and convinces the other two when they get reluctant.
    • The sweet, seemingly-flawless Pluto contrasts Neptune from We Know The Devil. Neptune was a person who viewed the world with suspicion, and could be abrasive and angry to people, while kind and compassionate to those close to her, but ultimately viewed herself as a rotten person. Pluto has the same insecurities, but decided to assume the best of everyone. Unfortunately, by being perfect and kind all the time, when she genuinely does try to confide in people, it gets immediately brushed off since she's supposed to be effortlessly perfect.
    • The aloof, distant Luna-Terra contrasts Venus from We Know The Devil. Venus was a very timid and naive person who had a tendency to go along with whatever everyone else was doing, eager to please, and was looked down on by others for it. Venus was also more awkward when it came to romance than Neptune or Jupiter, and she didn't even realize she was transgender until the Devil brought it out. Luna-Terra is a celebrated ace, but holds herself at a distance, drifting from faction to faction as the gravity pulls her, never really being trusted or seen by people, all while leaving a trail of broken hearts all across the solar system.
  • Within Sucker for Love series, the protagonist of First Date is a relatively Flat Character motivated by lust to summon eldritch horrors in order to smooch them, with no regards to his own or the world's safety. The protagonist of Date to Die For is an asexual with no lust whatsoever, with personal Backstory involving her hometown, who only summons an eldritch being out of desperation, and only because the ritual book assures that the summoned god is "benign".

    Web Animation 
  • Played with in Red vs. Blue with Agent Washington. Wash is introduced in Season 6 as a more serious, disciplined soldier to contrast with the more cynical Reds and Blues. Unlike other examples of this trope, Wash didn't replace the Reds and Blues, but became the Only Sane Man among their ragtag band of idiots.
  • Hazbin Hotel and Helluva Boss:
    • Charlie, the protagonist of the former, is an upbeat, loving and sweet demon that looks the most human-looking among every other character; she's the Princess of Hell and has enough resources to get an entire hotel for her project; she believes in the goodness of others and that sinners can be redeemed, but she's also not stupid, nor a pushover, and can stand her ground when needed. Blitzo, the protagonist of the latter, is a low ranking imp that looks like a mix between a devil and a jester that opened his own business with the intent to murder people in the living world that demons dislike or want gone for revenge; he is extremely needy and lonely, and tries to make a family out of his work colleagues; he couldn't care less about the general state of Hell, or the people that don't directly concern him.
    • Stolas is this to Alastor. Both take the role of mysterious and maligned benefactor of the main character's business ventures in the story, but are very different characters. Alastor is a young demon lord, that raised through the ranks using his massive natural power, he a very outgoing and cheery man that gets quiet when he wants to be taken serious, he is asexual and laughs off the idea of getting a blowjob, he also gets roped in Charlie's plan because he wants to see her fail miserably. Stolas is an ancient noble demon that plays politics, he is quiet and stoic until he sees something he wants, then he is loud and very graphic, and he ropes himself into Blitzo's plans because he is romantically interested in Blitzo, being a Depraved Homosexual to the point of creeping out the target of his affections (at least in the pilot).

    Webcomics 

    Web Video 
  • Whenever one of the members of Critical Role makes a new character, they seem to intentionally make it so that their new character will contrast their previous one in some way.
    • Liam O'Brien's characters:
      • Campaign 1's Vax'ildan Vessar is contrasted by Campaign 2's Caleb Widogast. Whereas Vax is a mostly physical fighter, usually tries to make himself look presentable, spent his entire life beside his sister, and runs straight into danger and has no problem risking his life for others, Caleb is a purely magic user, is almost always filthy, his closest companion is someone he met only a few months prior to the beginning of the campaign, and he's a self-proclaimed coward and a Manipulative Bastard.
      • Both Vax and Caleb are contrasted by Campaign 3's Orym of the Air Ashari. Whereas Vax and Caleb are both Byronic Heroes with Dark and Troubled Pasts, Orym is The Generic Guy who has already learned to cope with the dark events of his past in a healthy manner. When it comes to Caleb specifically, while both serve as the group's Only Sane Man, Caleb is a Squishy Wizard who initially joins the Mighty Nein for selfish reasons, while Orym is a Pintsized Powerhouse with no magical capabilities who acts as a team player right off the bat. Liam himself has stated that this was one of the main intents of Orym as a character, having wanted to create a character who's "really centered in a good place" only to get swept up into grand adventures, contrasting his previous two characters.
    • Laura Bailey's characters:
      • Campaign 1's Vex'ahlia Vessar is contrasted by Campaign 2's Jester Lavorre. Whereas Vex is one of the smarter and more serious members of Vox Machina, has difficulty trusting others, is extremely stingy with money, and very protective of her bear companion Trinket, Jester is The Ditz and a prankster, believes in trusting others even when she obviously shouldn't, isn't particularly concerned with money, and is often extremely forgetful about her pet weasel Sprinkle.
      • Jester is contrasted by Campaign 3's Imogen Temult. Whereas Jester has the second-highest Strength stat of the Mighty Nein, but an average Charisma stat, as well as being outgoing and loves to show off her magical capabilities, and has a tendency to send Sending messages that are cheerful, rambling, and go over the word limit, Imogen has the second-lowest Strength stat of Bell's Hells, but a high Charisma stat, as well as being somewhat shy and suffering from Power Incontinence, and makes Sending messages that are formal and concise.
    • Ashley Johnson's characters:
      • Campaign 1's Pike Trickfoot is contrasted by Campaign 2's Yasha Nydoorin. Whereas Pike is a tiny gnome, extremely kind, and serves as Vox Machina's medic, Yasha is one of the tallest members of the Mighty Nein, very closed-off and blunt, and is a pure physical brawler.
      • Yasha is contrasted by Campaign 3's Fearne Calloway. Whereas Yasha is closed-off to others, but ultimately a Gentle Giant, and is a sword-wielding Barbarian who fights with very little magic, Fearne is outgoing and friendly, but can be very brutal and even sadistic when she feels like it, and is a magic using Druid with a below-average Strength stat.
    • Travis Willingham's characters:
      • Campaign 1's Grog Strongjaw is contrasted by Campaign 2's Fjord. Whereas Grog is a Dumb Muscle, is a purely physical fighter with no magical capabilities, and regularly goes to brothels to get "lady favors", Fjord is The Face of the Mighty Nein, as well as the team strategist, uses quite a bit of magic on top of his physical abilities, and is extremely awkward when it comes to the prospect of sex.
      • Fjord is contrasted by Campaign 3's Bertrand Bell. While both have a tendency to impulsively rush into battle without thinking, Fjord is one of the more sensible members of the Mighty Nein and gets along well with the rest of the team, while Bertrand is a Miles Gloriosus and The Friend Nobody Likes.
      • After Bertrand gets killed off 3 episodes into the campaign, he's replaced by Chetney Pock O'Pea, who contrasts both him and Fjord. While Fjord and Bertrand are a tall half-orc Warlock/Paladin and human Fighter, respectively, and would willingly run into battles even when the odd are against them, Chetney is a tiny gnome Rogue/Blood Hunter who stays out of fights he knows he can't win. Also, while Bertrand has connections in the city the campaign starts in, Chetney has only been in the city for about a month prior to joining Bell's Hells.
    • Taliesin Jaffe's characters:
      • Campaign 1's Percival de Rolo is contrasted by Campaign 2's Mollymauk Tealeaf. Whereas Percy is The Smart Guy of Vox Machina, dresses modestly for his noble status, fights entirely with ranged combat, and has an arc centered around wanting to get revenge for his past, Molly only has an above-average Intelligence stat and is implied to be a Phony Psychic, dresses very ostentatiously in-spite of his poor background, is a mostly melee fighter, and is an Amnesiac Hero who believes in living in the moment. Also, according to Taliesin himself, Percy is meant to be someone who comes off as good but has a dark side to him, while Molly is someone who comes off as untrustworthy while actually being a genuinely good person.
      • After Molly gets killed off, he's replaced by Caduceus Clay, who contrasts both him and Percy. Whereas Percy is often cynical, The Smart Guy of Vox Machina with the highest Intelligence stat of the party, can be extremely wrathful if pushed too far, lost nearly his entire family, is a Naythiest who made two separate deals with a demon and a fiend, and is a Fighter with the Magic Initiate feat, Caduceus is optimistic, not particularly bright with the lowest Intelligence stat of the Mighty Nein, is a Mellow Fellow and The Heart of the party, his family is still alive, is a devout follower of the Wildmother, and is a Cleric who wields divine magic. Additionally, Taliesin himself has stated that Caduceus is the kind of person Percy would have become had his life not gone so terribly wrong. Meanwhile, whereas Molly is The Hedonist, one of the Mighty Nein's main damage dealers, and once evaded death by crawling out of his own grave, Caduceus lived a sheltered life away from vice, serves as the Mighty Nein's healer, and runs a graveyard.
      • Molly (as well as Caduceus) is contrasted by Campaign 3's Ashton Greymoore. Whereas Molly is a charlatan who would regularly con people for money, but is overall a good person, Ashton is a gambler in perpetual debt and a Knight in Sour Armor. Meanwhile, whereas Caduceus is kind and generous to others, as well as having strong ties to his home, Ashton is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who messes with others for his own amusement and couldn't care less about the orphanage he grew up in. When Bell's Hells arrive in Whitestone and meet Vox Machina, Ashton is also shown to contrast Percy. Both are men who have gone through hardship and will do anything to protect what they care about, but whereas Percy presents himself as a refined and somewhat snobbish engineer and nobleman, Ashton presents himself as a vulgar and brutish street urchin.
    • Marisha Ray's characters:
      • Campaign 1's Keyleth of the Air Ashari is contrasted by Campaign 2's Beauregard Lionett. Whereas Keyleth is an All-Loving Hero who Jumped at the Call, is a Wide-Eyed Idealist who is conflicted by the prospect of doing anything morally-questionable, and has a loving relationship with her father, Beau is a self-admitted Jerkass who Refused the Call until she was literally beaten into accepting it, is The Cynic who has no qualms about hurting others, and is unwanted by her family. Also, while both have No Social Skills, it is for differing reasons: Keyleth is socially awkward due to her lack of worldly experience, while Beau simply doesn't care about getting along with others.
      • Beau is contrasted by Campaign 3's Laudna. While both had bad childhoods and don't like to talk about their past, Beau is a physical powerhouse, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and abrasive and antisocial towards others, while Laudna is a Weak, but Skilled magic user, a Creepy Good Nice Girl, and a team player who regularly participates in Combination Attacks.
    • Sam Riegel's characters:
      • Campaign 1's Scanlan Shorthalt is contrasted by Campaign 2's Nott the Brave/Veth Brenatto. Besides the obvious contrast of Scanlan being a man and Nott being a woman, Scanlan has a high Charisma stat, is a great singer, is extremely confident, and is The Casanova, while Nott has a low Charisma stat, is an awful singer, is constantly nervous, and has little interest in romance due to already being Happily Married. Also, while both have a hatred for goblins, it is for differing reasons: Scanlan's mother was killed by goblins, while Veth is a mother who was killed by goblins and then resurrected as one. Sam himself has stated that he designed Nott with the purpose of being Scanlan's opposite in every way.
      • Nott is contrasted by Campaign 3's Fresh Cut Grass. While both are Plucky Comic Relief characters who have arcs based around questioning their own existence, Nott has trouble trusting others and is a Kleptomaniac Hero, while FCG is an All-Loving Hero who is generous to a fault and fails to see how said generosity can come back to bite him.
    • Even the Team Pets of each campaign contrast each other:
      • Campaign 1's Trinket is contrasted by Campaign 2's Frumpkin. While both have the ability to be banished and summoned by their respective masters, Trinket is a large, lumbering grizzly bear who often ends up as little use to Vox Machina and usually ends up being forgotten by the team, while Frumpkin is a fey spirit who usually takes the form of a small cat, and regularly proves useful to the Mighty Nein and their plans. Also, while both have loving relationships with their masters, Vex is extremely protective of Trinket to the point of not letting him get involved with dangerous situations unless she has no other choice, while Frumpkin regularly gets put into dangerous situations by Caleb due to Caleb's ability to resurrect him in the event that he gets killed.
      • Frumpkin is contrasted by Campaign 3's Mister. Both are spirits, but Frumpkin is a fey spirit who takes the form of a dignified tabby cat, is well-liked by the party, and proves useful outside of combat but overall useless when in combat, while Mister is a wildfire spirit who takes the form of a monkey, proves to be extremely uncooperative with the party, and proves to be of little use outside of combat but extremely useful in combat.
      • Campaign 2's Sprinkle is contrasted by Campaign 3's Pâté. Whereas Sprinkle is pretty much useless in terms of utility, and would regularly be joked about by the party as being some sort of undead creature due to his ability to survive everything the Mighty Nein put him through, Pâté is an actual reanimated corpse who ends up working as a very useful scout for the team.

    Western Animation 
  • This pops up frequently in Batman Beyond, most notably in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, where this is pretty much how the second Batman beats The Joker. Even when Bruce Wayne / Batman I gave him advice on how to win (by not listening to the Joker's taunting), Terry McGinnis / Batman II realized his best chance to beat him was not by not listening, but by beating the Joker at his own game.
    Joker: [after getting kicked in the crotch] What are you doing?!
    Batman: Fighting dirty.
    Joker: The real Batman would never— [kicked again]
    • Amanda Waller in Justice League notes that while Terry's not as smart as Bruce, he's also not as cold and standoffish, though he shares Bruce's compassion.
  • Daria is a Spin-Off of Beavis and Butt-Head. You'll find many people shocked by this: the parent show is about two boys who are Lethally Stupid and pretty much had no apparent families, while Daria suffers through Intelligence Equals Isolation and a family whom she (initially) can't stand. The former relies on Toilet Humour, the latter on Genius Bonuses; Beavis and Butthead want people to see them as awesome, while Daria works hard to avoid others. It makes sense, since Daria was created specifically to be a smart, female Foil to the boys.
  • Elena of Avalor: Sofia and Princess Elena, the protagonists of Craig Gerber's shows, are similar in many ways, yet also different. They're both kind, altruistic, headstrong, and always willing to help others, but they're still different in many ways. Sofia is an 8-year-old girl who starts out naive and energetic before becoming more serious and experienced (though still remaining chipper); Elena is a 16-year-old girl who had more real-world experience and is more prone to taking things very seriously due to coping with the death of her parents. Sofia tends to reach others more through heart while Elena tends to be more proactive. Sofia started as a village girl before becoming a princess through her mother's marriage while Elena was born into royalty. Sofia, as a young girl, is less directly involved in royal politics, while Elena, being a teenager and the Crown Princess of Avalor, is more directly involved. Sofia is also shown to be more academically inclined than Elena. Finally, Sofia is much more adept to adapting to magic while Elena shows more struggle.
  • Infinity Train:
    • Book 1's passenger, Tulip, is a nerdy and somewhat rude teenage girl, while Book 2's passenger, Jesse, is a dumb but Lovable Jock. The former learns that she must learn to open up to others, while the latter learns that he needs to break free from bad friends. Their numbers also work differently: Tulip's starts high and goes up or down in large chunks that startle and confuse her, while Jesse's starts off very low and fluctuates in small degrees without him even noticing most of the time.
    • In Book 1, the human passenger is the protagonist, while Book 2's main protagonist is M.T., the companion denizen. M.T. also happens to be Tulip's now-freed reflection, meaning her whole goal is explicitly to be different than Tulip, with her also being more of an Anti-Hero.
    • Rounding out the main "human, denizen, animal" trio, Book 1's Atticus is a talking but otherwise fairly normal dog, while Book 2's Alan Dracula is a non-sapient deer with New Powers as the Plot Demands.
    • Book 3's protagonists, Grace and Simon, are this to all the previous protagonists. Whereas Tulip, Jesse, and M.T. have been on the train for months, Grace and Simon have been on the train for years. While all the previous protagonists wished to escape the train and return to Earth, Grace and Simon want to remain on the train permanently, even convincing other passengers to do so. And while the others are framed as heroic, or at least well-meaning in their actions, Grace and Simon are unmistakably Villain Protagonists.
    • Jesse and M.T. are initially contentious, awkward allies who become close friends over the course of Book 2, to the point that Jesse manages to return to the train after getting his exit, just so he and M.T. can leave together. Grace and Simon have been friends and partners for years, but the events of Book 3 strain their friendship, ending with Simon trying to murder Grace, before getting killed himself.
  • While Avatar Korra of The Legend of Korra is the Reincarnation of Avatar Aang of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and are thus technically the same person in some sense, Korra was designed to be Aang's complete opposite. While both share a good sense of humor, lots of compassion for strangers, and a certain impulsiveness, her official bio even says she couldn't have less in common with Aang if she tried.
    • Aang didn't want to be the Avatar and spent much of the series coming to terms with that identity; Korra quickly embraced the role and struggles with learning not to be defined by it.
    • Aang became an airbending master at a young age but had difficulty mastering the other elements; Korra was easily bending water, earth, and fire as a child, but struggled to learn airbending in her later years.
    • Aang's hardest element to master was Earthbending due to it being the diametric opposite of his philosophy as an airbender. In comparison Korra has no problem learning Firebending, the diametric opposite of her native Waterbending, on account of her Hot-Blooded nature, but it's Airbending she struggles with at first due to its deeply spiritual roots.
    • Aang was told he was the Avatar when he was 12, 4 years before they're supposed to learn so; Korra discovered it for herself when she was 4, 12 years early.
    • Aang was deeply spiritual and his pacifistic views as an Air Nomad was his main conflict during his show's finale, as he struggled with the idea of taking Ozai's life. Korra on the other hand is hot-headed, far more pugnacious and always ready for a fight and has no qualms about killing if she must, but she struggles with her spiritual side at first and has to learn to be more in tune with the spirit world.
    • Aang only had eyes for Katara from the moment they met; Korra juggles several suitors and love interests. She went on a date with Bolin, had a failed relationship with Mako, and ends the series with Asami.
    • Aang's primary enemies were of Fire Nation descent and his main enemy above all was the Fire Lord. Korra's enemies come from each nation, facing a new Arc Villain each Book, some even being the result or aftermath of the previous.
    • Aang is a 12 year old child while Korra starts off as a 17 year old teenager and ends her series as a 21 year old adult.
    • Aang's birth parents and family, if he had any, were never mentioned or seen, and they were likely wiped out with the rest of the Air Nomads, leaving Aang all alone until Katara and Sokka happened upon him a hundred years later. Korra's parents are still present and alive, and so are her people, so Korra was never alone, at least not in that sense. Her loneliness instead came from being isolated in the southern Water Tribe compound after an attempted kidnapping.
    • Except for one, all of Aang's other mentors were also children; Korra's mentors were all older adults.
    • Most of Aang's friends were from royalty, nobility, and warriors, while Aang was of humble birth; Korra is from a royal family while her friends range from simple street urchins who have never known real fighting, to the child of a company tycoon.
    • Aang learned Toph's first original skill, seismic sense; Korra learned Toph's second original skill, metalbending.
    • Aang has a one syllable name; Korra has a two syllable name.
    • In a meta sense, Aang was simply referred to as "The Last Airbender" while Korra's name is in the title.
    • Monk Gyatso (Aang's airbending teacher) was important to him but is only seen a couple of times while his relationship with his other bending mentors are explored more; Korra's relationships with anyone but Tenzin (her airbending instructor) is not touched upon.
    • Aang is straight while Korra is revealed to be bisexual.
    • In a physical sense, Aang is a short, bald-headed, fair-skinned, lithe and has light skin tone; slender young boy; Korra is a taller (at least comparatively when Aang started in the series), long-haired, brown-skinned and muscular young woman. 
    • At the end of his series, Aang learned how to take away someone's bending. At the end of the first season, Korra learned how to restore bending.
    • Aang indirectly led the Air Nomads to their genocide while Korra indirectly led to their rebirth.
    • Aang's people were all wiped out, and Fire Lord Sozin was hunting him down specifically to end the Avatar cycle. Korra never had to fear for her people. However, there was an attempted kidnapping on her life as the Red Lotus found out about the newly discovered Avatar and sought to use her for their own gain; they wanted to keep her alive and raise her themselves for the sake of unleashing Vaatu.
    • As one comment puts it:
      "Aang is good and learns to be the Avatar, Korra is the Avatar and learns to be good."
  • Kion from The Lion Guard is a Wise Prince who is mindful of the rules. In contrast, his father Simba from The Lion King (1994) was a playful Rebel Prince as a cub.
  • In My Little Pony:
    • Rainbow Dash's third and fourth generation forms could not be any more different. In the third generation, Rainbow Dash was a fashionista (mainly known for a line in a song that said "Rainbow Dash always dresses in style"). In the fourth generation, she got the Decomposite Character treatment, with her fashionista tendencies being given to Rarity, and instead, the Rainbow Dash of this generation is a brash, proud athlete who hates anything uncool (though she does come to enjoy "uncool" habits over the course of the series). Played to its logical extreme by the episode "The End in Friend", where they have such vastly different outlooks and worldviews that it leads to them temporarily ending their friendship.
    • Sunny Starscout who debuted in My Little Pony: A New Generation, the pilot movie for the sequel series to Friendship is Magic is this to the previous show's main character, Twilight Sparkle. At the start of both of their stories they were friendless save for a single male friend; Hitch in Sunny's case and Spike in Twilight's case. But while Twilight had no interest in finding friends until essentially being forced to and only reluctantly went off on an adventure with the rest of the Mane 6, Sunny desires friends but had effectively alienated herself from everyone in town due to her pro-pony unification activism, and jumped at the chance to have an adventure with Izzy. And while Twilight was implied to be part of a high-class family, and was a magical prodigy taught by a princess, Sunny is a middle-class pony raised and told of the old ways of friendship by her father, with more-or-less average intelligence and not much knowledge of magic. What also sets them apart is that Twilight became an alicorn only after spending an exerted period of time in Ponyville with her friends while Sunny became an alicorn after spending a short amount of time with her friends.
  • Phineas and Ferb and Milo Murphy's Law, if one expands "sequel" to mean "Spiritual Successor made by the same guys and set in the same town." The former is about a pair of ridiculously chipper brothers who were Born Lucky and succeed at any ridiculous thing they try; the latter about a ridiculously chipper boy who was Born Unlucky (literally) and often has to struggle through the simplest tasks. By extension one could contrast Candace (an older sister always on her brothers' case until she learns to get along with them over and over again) and Sara (an older sister who's unquestioningly supportive), or Perry (a secret agent platypus who has a habit of disappearing from his owners' sight, causing people to say "Hey, where's Perry?") and Diogee (an ordinary dog who has a habit of appearing before Milo, causing him to say "Diogee, go home").
    • If one considers Hamster & Gretel as another sequel, then Gretel heavily contrasts both of them. While the protagonists of the previous shows are on the opposite extremes when it comes to luck, Gretel is in the middle, dealing with both failures and successes when it comes to defeating bad guys. Hamster, unlike Perry and Diogee, is mostly by Gretel's side due to being her partner in crime-fighting. And while the previous shows have one Big Bad, the show involves a Big Bad Shuffle with Gretel fighting one different villain each episode. By extension one could contrast Kevin with both Candace & Sara, who is the first one to wish to be like their younger sibling instead of actively opposing them or simply supporting them.
  • Charlie in Skull Island (2023) is a Contrasting Prequel Main Character to Madison Russell of the MonsterVerse's previous instalment, the live-action Godzilla vs. Kong movie. Both Charlie and Madison are among the teenaged main leads, but whereas Madison was closely affiliated with Monarch by parentage and was privy to top expert information on the Titans including Godzilla; Charlie and his father just work for an unaffiliated cryptozoologist group, and he's blindsided by the existence of Skull Island and Titans whilst remaining in the dark about Kong's true nature. Whereas Madison put on a steely front around her companions, Charlie is openly vexed and nervy around his. Whereas Madison felt naturally drawn to Monarch- and Titan-related work and had an Obsessively Normal father trying to obstruct her from that, Charlie's relationship with his own father is the complete inverse: Charlie wants a normal life, while his eccentric father wants him to take up the cryptid-hunting mantle.
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch: The titular squad, a team of Badass Normals, stands out compared to Captain Rex before them. All four are Clones made from the same man, but they're Military Mavericks willing to bend the rules and are all highly insane in some way (barring maybe Hunter), whereas Rex, a highly skilled ARC-Trooper in his own right, was initially willing to follow orders until the events of the series made him question his place in the war he found himself fighting. They all fight against the Empire, but Rex did so because he was forced to carry out Order 66 until Ahsoka took out his chip, wound up retiring at some point, only to be forced back in during Rebels, while the Bad Batch were immediately made fugitives thanks to their refusal to fall in line...well, almost all of them, as Crosshair's chip's on just enough that he defects.
  • Star Wars Resistance: Unlike Ahsoka Tano and Ezra Bridger, Kazuda Xiono is a) a Badass Normal instead of a Force-user, and b) although young, older than fourteen, the age the other two were at the beginning of their shows. Also unlike most Star Wars protagonists, Kaz is from a well-off background, isn't an orphan, and is from an "influential world", being in contact with his family before he was recruited by the Resistance. Finally, unlike Anakin, Ahsoka, Ezra, Luke and Rey, Kaz has little to no mechanical skills.
  • This dynamic is apparent in each installment of the Tales of Arcadia trilogy:
  • Transformers:
    • The Transformers from G1 has Optimus Prime and Rodimus Prime contrasting each other, Optimus is an Ideal Hero who's always ready to fight and an experienced commander who's seen as A Father to His Men, while Rodimus is more youthful, more ready to doubt himself, and tends to treat his troops more like close friends (which they usually are).
    • Optimus Prime and Optimus Primal. Both noble and brave leaders who do battle against a Transformer who goes by "Megatron" for the fate of the Earth. While Prime was seasoned leader of the Autobots, Primal had no military background and was the leader of a small crew of Maximals who only responded to Megatron's theft of the Golden Disk because they were the closest. Prime was a respected and idealized warrior who carried the Matrix of Leadership that gave him the collected wisdom of past Primes, Primal is more down to Earth while having his team question his orders or undermine him, though when he carried Optimus Prime's spark during the season 3 premiere, he started to exhibit more of Prime's personality.
    • Transformers: Prime: Optimus is longtime leader of the Autobots who was stoic, wise, patient and respected by Autobot and Decepticon alike. Transformers: Robots in Disguise: Bumblebee, who served under him in Prime, is emotional, unsure, more used to being part of a team than leading one and frequently dealt with both disobedience and lack of respect early on. He attempted to emulate Optimus once, but it went nowhere and Optimus told him that he needs to lead his team his own way.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Contrasting Sequel Protagonist

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"I'm not Picard!"

Q decides to mess with Sisko the way he does Picard. Sisko aptly demonstrates how totally un-Picard-like he is.

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